The Runway
for massed choir and orchestra (2022)
duration: 5’
GRT • 231

score available soon from
Australian Music Centre

program note
On 15 August 2021 at around 9pm, 823 Afghan citizens packed onto a US C–17 military cargo plane at Hamid Karzai international airport. Amid chaos and confusion during the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, those desperate to escape were crowded on the runway trying to board from the rear loading ramp. The photos shown in the press are astonishing. They’re just crammed into the cargo deck with no seats, no belts. There was concern that the plane might not get off the ground, but it took off and landed hours later in Qatar. This piece contemplates those seeking a new life elsewhere – often taking very little with them. But it is also a post-pandemic anthem for all of us, re-emerging into the wider world as travel and borders re-open.

I am standing
At the foot of the mountain
I am walking
I’m running (to you)

I am here
At the top of the runway
I am flying

The boat, the shore
The plane, the runway

The sun is on the horizon
And we’ll leave nothing behind us

text © Stuart Greenbaum 2022